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Q: Life tips for new expat in China?

Hi everyone!

 

I'm an FOB expat here in Guangzhou. Been here two weeks and lovin' it so far, though I must have already lost 20 pounds just from the heat (and digestive worries). Just wanted to extend a small hello to you all, and ask if the more experienced among you had any good tips on adapting quickly to life in China, and more specifically the south. I took 5 months of Chinese before coming so I can get by for really basic stuff.

 

9 years 44 weeks ago in  General  - Guangzhou

 
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Avoid expat communities, get into the 'real China' it will help your Chinese AND your enjoyment.

Expect some problems with D&V, until your system adapts (and possibly even then), keep some good strong medicine on hand.

Yes the toilets ARE that bad, nothing to do but hold your breath.

Driving is insane.

In Guanxi carry an umbrella everywhere from May - Sept (the rainy season) the rain comes quickly and suddenly.

Noodles or Baozi for breakfast is a good plan; find a good local shop and stick with it, it's a great way of getting to know some locals.

If you live and eat Chinese style life will be cheap, challenging and (in my opinion), fun, if you want to live and eat as you do at home, life will be expensive, you will be isolated and (again in my opinion) it won't be much fun.

 

Good luck and welcome, remember TIC (This Is China).

 

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9 years 44 weeks ago
 
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Don't get cheated and keep aware of everyone especially people who treat you well for no reason.....................chinese don't do that usually for the love of the good but some do it because they are good but no need to gamble just be aware of all...........yeah and don't try baijiu

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9 years 44 weeks ago
 
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Oh add to my last list, if you get desperate for 'normal' toilets, find the nearest KFC, the toilets are decent and in China you don't even need to buy anything to stay in the restaurant, heck some Chinese even bring their own food! (To the restaurant not the toilet.)

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9 years 44 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2418

Emperor

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Seeing that you are living in Guangzhou, you picked a good place.  Lots of activities there and loads of good people.  (And for my money the best looking women in China.)

 

You will get out of China what you put into China.  It all depends on what your goals are.

 

Just remember that your not in Kansas anymore Toto.  This is their sandbox and their rules.  You will have days where you question the sanity of coming to China, but they go away quickly.  Just don't hold up in your room or hang out with only other expats.  Get out, explore, have fun and live on the edge.

 

My motto here has always been, "If 1.6 Billion people can do it and remain alive, then so can I."

 

What part of Guangzhou do you live in?  And what is a FOB?  I have been living in Guangzhou for about 6 years, so if you have any questions about the area, feel free to ask.

 

And welcome to China.

brisguy:

FOB = Fresh off the boat

9 years 44 weeks ago
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Xpat.John:

Thank you.  I never seen it phrased as "FOB" before.

9 years 44 weeks ago
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WhiteBear:

heheh, I've seen FOB... but then it should meant that somebody just kick Him of the homeland, taking care only until He boards  (FOB incoterms)

 

 

9 years 44 weeks ago
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tmestep8:

"if 1.6 people can do it and remain alive, then so can I"  - Who says they remain alive?  I hear about unnecessary deaths all the time.

9 years 44 weeks ago
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Xpat.John:

I was referring mostly to food.  I don't think 1.6 billion people will be riding a sleeper bus into the back of a fuel tanker anytime soon.  Well, at least not doing it and surviving anyhow.

9 years 44 weeks ago
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9 years 44 weeks ago
 
Posts: 3339

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CONDOMS. Don't go getting anyone in trouble.

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9 years 44 weeks ago
 
Posts: 501

Governor

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Hi Smile Where are You from? It will be easier to point-out differences between here and Your homeland.

 

Don't ever accept invitation for "tea" or "massage" that You may experience on the street. Many of them are intro to scam.
Teahouses are all over, so massage parlors... 

 

As soon as You begin to eat chinese dishes - digestion problems pass away (Your body will adapt). 

Drink only well boiled water, or bought in shop. Filtration equipment can be good investment if You intend to stay for long in one apartment. 

Avoid using "maximum cooling" in air-conditioned places (also Your apartment), just set temp few degrees below outside.

Avoid very cold drinks, because also Your bacterial flora in throat will need some time to adapt (caching cold is very likely in first weeks).

Locals advised me to eat hot (spicy) meals, and it really works - the same sweating, but quicker adaptation to hot weather that we already have here (I'm near GZ).

If You are afraid of food, and have some basic cooking skills - You can try some simple dishes similar to what You had in homeland, then "migrate" to "more Chineese" cooking. Eggs are always good for a start ;) 

If You sweat a lot - buy small towels, and just keep it in the pocket or bag. Chinese uses it too Smile

If You loosing a weight because of heat - avoid dehydration! It can almost kill You.

 

cooter:

What's the premise behind only setting the air conditioner a few degrees below the outside temperature?  For me, I set it to my comfort level (usually around 25C).  So in the middle of summer when it's 34-35C....that's more than a few degrees difference I think...

9 years 44 weeks ago
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WhiteBear:

this is about avoiding rapid changes in temperature around You, that when moving from hot to cold - may make getting cold much easier, and from cold to hot - problem with adaptation

9 years 44 weeks ago
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cooter:

Ahh, I see.  If I'm not at home, I leave the air conditioning off.  So when I get home and turn it on, it gradually cools the room down to something more comfortable :P

9 years 44 weeks ago
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9 years 44 weeks ago
 
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Alway's have on you:

 

- hand sanitizer

- tissue paper

- a hidden 100rmb (pickpockets happen)

- a camera

 

 

also: be sure yo keep all of your addresses in Chinese saved on your phone.

derek:

Yes, the Chinese addresses in your phone is a definite must! Good advice there.

9 years 44 weeks ago
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9 years 44 weeks ago
 
Posts: 501

Governor

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When You don't know addresses in Chinese - make a picture of it, and store in phone

it also works with characteristic points in the city - You can always just show it to the driver

 

take business cards from any place that are You interested in, or that is near some interesting place (hotels, restaurants, shops) - use it as a address card, even if You just go to some place near.

make Your own business card, with Chinese and English name, phone number, e-mail, etc. If You are working for some company - it should privide it for You.

put also one of those cards in every bag that You carry - to identify Your property

have ICE card, with instructions in english and chinese who should be called if You have problem, also blood type, alergies etc. should be described in it.

some insurance companies provides it, if You don't have those - just make it, and store in Your wallet

carry with You your passport, if it is possible - in weather resistant plastic case (or just in small plastic bag)

in cab - sit in the front and if driver not doing it - "break" the meter (if folded - meter works), and pay what You will see on the receipt printed + fuel charge on separate receipt (few RMB)

avoid unmarked "cabs"! especially "good looking" ones... audi etc... unless You want to pay few hundreds extra...

derek:

What's an ICE Card?

9 years 44 weeks ago
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WhiteBear:

ICE card is information "In Case of Emergency":
personal info
blood type
alergy
who to inform ICE

while having it in the wallet - if found unconscious - makes medical actions easier and quicker (sometimes can save Your live), and helps to inform relatives ASAP (so they can also help)

9 years 44 weeks ago
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Look both ways many times when you cross the street, carry lots of tissue for many reasons. I had colds constantly, so wash your hands. I had antibotics and Imodium from home, so of course that saved me, I never needed any. If i didn't have them handy I'd have died.

 I lost 2 phones in China, one to a pick pocket, the other to my girl friend, guard your belongings well.

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9 years 44 weeks ago
 
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Peasant

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if you are in trouble with police then try not to speak Chinese otherwise they will get u in more trouble 

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All of the above is good advice. Just to add, explore the local food and have fun. China is better than most people say and worse than most people imagine. After a year, that will make sense. Remember that there is a good chance you will get really sick after about a month. Some don't but a lot of people I've talked to have. It's just your body's way of adjusting. After that, you should be fine, except the normal digestive issues.

 

Don't fall for the first pretty girl who "brings you water," as the saying goes. China has lots of beauties, however, their notion of "romance" carries a lot different connotations than you've been taught back home. Live, learn, explore, and have a wonderful time.

 

If you need help, ask a question here, as there are many folks who have been here for a long time and can probably give you a great answer, saving you time, money, and energy.

 

"Welcome to China!"

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9 years 44 weeks ago
 
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Shifu

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Expect to get ripped off.

derek:

Yup

9 years 44 weeks ago
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Posts: 1633

Shifu

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Don't feel guilty about bargaining or haggling for the best price. They won't worry about taking you to the cleaners. Hit 'em low!

WhiteBear:

but don't haggle about 2 RMB buying vegetables... ;) 

haggling is ok when You are sure, that item is overpriced, or You buy large quantity or spend large amount of money in one place

9 years 44 weeks ago
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